We have these moments in life when we know

“This is important”. “This moment matters”

Last week was a string of such moments for me. I was fortunate enough to see Dr. Eugenia Duodu speak about her experiences from growing up in a single-parent family, in a poor part of Toronto, to being a charity leader and youth advocate in sciences. I was inspired and hopeful for our future. Dr. Duodu overcame steryotypes and achieved as high as she did due to some of teachers who recognized and encouraged her talents along the way. …

If you knew me, you could easily say my favourite words are awesome and amazing, I rarely do not smile and I can be characterized as an eternal optimist.

Twenty years ago, I left everything I knew and cherished to come to Canada, the promised land, where a person can build a new life, have freedom of speech and equal opportunities. While I chose to dedicate my life to public service and became a teacher only a decade ago, I find myself at times less optimistic.

Each day, each week, month and year I work tirelessly to better myself, to…

Change is hard. Changing culture is even harder. Not all things look the same, feel the same, sound the same. We all notice the “what”, the “how”, the “why” we perceive as not belonging. We all comment on whatever does not align to our own views, and no matter how hard we try, the conscious or unconscious rejection happens.

So how does one challenge the status quo, while being intentional and not appearing impulsive or hasty? My thought and advice is persistence, resilience. Some folks want a “change” that may be popular or the word of the day. Others want…

Many times, just like my students, I come across cultural and social references that I do not get. When relationships are cemented and based on mutual trust and respect, my conversation partners know to probe my lack of “Canadian” pop or TV culture and approach the referencing with teaching, sharing in mind, versus making jokes at my expense.

As I was speaking with my husband, we both commented on our good friend, let’s call him Mike, who has learned over the years to first ask about our knowledge of above mentioned examples and then mindfully and respectfully weave in the…

Relationships, relationships, relationships….

When we were kids our friends were our world: who we played with on the playground, the sleepover we were invited to, the birthday parties we missed out on.

Work life is in many ways no different. If we do not invest time into developing relationships, we will miss many “birthday parties”.

What builds relationships? My answer is always: be yourself, be authentic, have empathy. Be supportive, make yourself available and get ready to roll up your sleeves when your partner(s) is(are) in need of help. Listen more, don’t pass judgement.

As adults it is harder to…

Recently I watched an episode of “The Agenda” with Steve Paikin, interviewing former human rights lawyer and assistant deputy minister Patrick Case, who is also heading up the newly established Education Equity Secretariat. The topic was inequality in education.

During the interview, Mr. Case identified the lack of diversity in teaching staff in the education system and highlighted an issue that spoke to me:

“students should see themselves reflected in the school staff” ~ Patrick Case

This simple yet deep observation comes from years and years of slow progress in terms of equity and inclusion in education. If students of…

My school board started a great initiative last year. You can follow it on Twitter using #HDSBInnovates or reading the blog by Jamie Mitchell and Matthew Coleman.

Recently we were asked to reflect on what we learned from the http://hdsb-theshift.blogspot.ca/ and the ideas it brought forward.

It has been a while since I have been in a formal leadership role. September marked the beginning of a new journey. First month is always busy, now even busier. New classes, new students, new colleagues, new admin, new school processes, new office, and… me.

There is a lot of leadership advice for those…

I have a dream. A dream that all ELL students will feel that sense of belonging we all strive towards. I dream of a day when their needs are understood and not questioned. I dream of teachers and students collaborating to break down biases and stigma.

I have another dream. I dream of the day ELL students are just students. They need support, they need counselling, they need guidance. We don’t label students in the essential pathway as “essentials”, or the ones on the applied/college pathway as “applieds”. We call them students. We know their needs. …

Wow, today was the day, I put on my shoes

I packed up my bag, I gathered the “tools”

I made up my lunch, I went full of joy

I sat in the rooms, I rushed through the hallways

By the end of the day, I ….. was tired, exhausted, yet excited and wondering: WHY ARE CLASS PERIODS 75 MINUTES LONG?

My day as a student was the result of the amazing collaboration and innovation that takes places in my school, in my board (see my Part 1 blog for all the work that went into setting this day up)…

Last year, my school started a challenge that really stems from good practice.

Focus on empowering students

The #Observe’me challenge was meant to drive “traffic” to each others classrooms, allowing teachers to observe students and classrooms in their daily routines. The #Observe’me challenge is in no way meant to be evaluative in nature.

If you have not heard of it I highly recommend you follow Robert Kaplinsky (https://twitter.com/robertkaplinsky) .

Andreea Stoica

CHANGE, INSPIRE, LEARN. Success is bred on failure.

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